The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts.
• ThinkProgress published an article about one unexpected reason why Republican support for prison reform is increasing. “Conservatives are increasingly joining the fight to end solitary confinement on the basis that it constitutes a form of torture and undermines principles of morality and personhood.”
• Solitary Watch’s Sarah Shourd covered the release of Juan Mendez’s findings from his tour of California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, a facility known for keeping individuals in indefinite solitary confinement. “There’s no doubt in my mind this is torture,” Mendez concluded.
• A federal judge issued a strong ruling against currently and formerly incarcerated plaintiffs, in an ongoing lawsuit intended to challenge the Bureau of Prisons’ Communication Management Units. “Judge Barbara Rothstein wrote that the Bureau of Prisons’ units do not violate inmates’ rights because the additional restrictions are ‘limited in nature’ compared to ordinary prison units, and are far better than solitary confinement.”
• The Texas Observer published a second article in a series entitled “Letters from Death Row,” this one focused on the effect of solitary confinement. The author writes, “Long periods of solitary confinement can result in loss of speech,” and quotes from a survey participant on the inside. “When you live in an environment where nearly everyone is hostile to you, you learn to say less and less until you arrive at the point where vocalization seems increasingly odd to you.”